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~Goode Things To Know. General Rules For Punching~

~Punch Needle Embroidery~
Punch needle is a form of embroidery that uses a hollow needle to create loops of thread on fabric. Also known as thread painting for the complexity and texture of the design that can be created with this technique. This art form is often referred to as miniature rug hooking.
**General rules for punching**
*Transferring your design to the weaver’s cloth ~ the easiest way to transfer your image from paper to the weavers cloth is by using a light box.  However, if you do not happen to have one my 2nd choice is to use a transfer paper.   My favorite is Loew Cornell GREY Transfer Paper.  Simply tape (taping is VERY important) your weavers cloth to a flat surface, place the transfer paper, dark side down, in the center of your weavers cloth and tape in place.  Now tape your image (template) on top of the transfer paper, facing up so you can see your design, and simply trace over the design with a fine tip marker or sharp pencil.  You may also use my old standby……..Tape the pattern template to a dry, sunny window.  Center your weaver’s cloth over the template and tape in place. With a fine tip marker, transfer your design onto the weavers cloth.  A light box also works well.
**Hoops ~ keeping your fabric drum tight in your hoop is the key to mastering the art of punch needle. If your fabric isn’t tight in the hoop you will soon find yourself frustrated and your work a mess. Therefore, use an embroidery hoop with a “locking-lip” and tighten OFTEN as you punch.
** Placing your design in the hoop…lay your design, face up over the smaller hoop and then place the larger hoop, containing the locking mechanism over the design and tighten drum tight. Being sure to keep the design centered. Now your design is ready to punch.

**All templates will be in reverse. When you place them in your hoop (as explained above) you will be working on the back of your design. The underside of the hoop is the front of the design.
**Punch Needles ~ My favorite needle to work with is the Cameo Punch Needle

**Stock up on needle threaders. You HAVE to have them to thread your needle & they are DELICATE, break easily and somehow disappear into thin air.
**Of Note… you will be working on the back of the piece.  The front is actually under your hoop.

** Of Note…when you first start punching your shapes the small areas, in particular, will not be very clearly defined.  Take heart. Once you start filling in the areas around it, everything will look great.

**Working/Punching ~Hold your needle like you would a pencil with the needle perpendicular to the fabric.  The needle will rest between your thumb and pointer finger.  If you are right handed the bevel (or open area) of the needle should face left.  If you are left handed, the bevel of the needle will face right, punch toward you in a circular motion turning your hoop or frame as you work.  Your already punched rows should be behind the back of the needle.
**Things to remember…..
~Begin with the smaller areas. 
~Punch, just inside the lines of the design in a circular manner.
~Always outline first and then fill in.

**Punch in a circular motion…doing small circular areas at a time.  This is how I achieve the look that I achieve with my punching
*Hug each row of stitches tight to the previous row; however do NOT punch on top of them. When punching near small areas/shapes, etc. or an area of a different color, point your needle tip away from the already punched area, this will help keep you from punching on top of the already punched rows.  Be sure to read through the direction that came with your punch needle as they contain very valuable directions and information.

*Outline first then fill in.

*Start at the center of the piece, working on the smaller details first & the borders and backgrounds last.

*Trim your loose ends close to your work. When the piece is finished also clip any errant loops on the front of the piece so that all the loops are the same height.
Making a mistake…If you find, during your punching, that you’ve made a mistake (perhaps you’ve used the wrong color or something just does not look right) you can gently pull the floss back out of the weavers cloth & run your fingernail back and forth over the cloth, to tighten the weave once again, and simply start over.  This may only be done ONCE… any more than that and it will loosen the weave too much and you will create a hole.
  **PLEASE NOTE…you cannot use this method when punching with two strands of floss.  Believe me..I learned this the hard way!!!
**Here are MY personal instructions, based on my experience, for punching with two strands, of size 8,Valdani Pearl Cotton**
#1 You need to transfer your design onto your weavers cloth in the opposite direction of the weave.
**I’m sure this sounds crazy (especially if you’ve ever looked closely at weavers cloth) however, after much trial and error (and holes in my weavers cloth) I have realized this does make all the difference.
#2 FINDING THE DIRECTION OF THE WEAVE; Believe it or not, it’s really quite simple. First things first, if you take a good look at your weavers cloth, in good light, you will see that there are more prominent lines running in one direction. If that gives you trouble however, simply look for the binded or selvage edge, which is the edge with several rows weaved together tighter than the rest of the fabric to bind the fabric together and keep it from separating or unraveling.
#3. Now that you have located the direction of the weave and the binded/selvage edge, simply trace your template onto the weavers cloth WITH THE BINDED EDGE AT THE TOP OF YOUR DESIGN, WITH THE WEAVE GOING FROM LEFT TO RIGHT.... It’s truly that simple and.... since I've discovered this little trick..I've not had one single hole, in my weavers cloth, while punching with two strands :)
#4. Threading your needle with TWO strands of floss ~ When punching with two strands you will use an end from the outside of the ball and an end from the inside/middle of the ball. Pull out approx. 12”, or so, just to get you started, pop your ball of floss into your floss holder or small juice glass and then thread your needle with both lengths of floss
**Be sure your two strands are flowing evenly from the ball of floss, at all times and that they are not twisting and knotting. If you are punching and it looks like your punches are not going in evenly, most likely your strands are uneven or there is a snag or slub inside your needle. Check the flow of your floss first, if it is flowing loosely, both strands are even and free of snags, next check inside your needle to make sure you do not have a small “slub or knot” caught up inside the mechanism. If so, unthread your needle, cut that piece away and rethread your needle.

Things to remember**Punching with two strands of size 8 is, obviously, different than punching with just one. It is twice as thick; therefore it will create a larger “punch/hole” in your weavers cloth…….one twice as large to be exact. Therefore, do everything you can not to create holes while punching with two stands because, unlike punching with one strand, where you can simply pull it out and start over, this is not possible when punching with two strands as it creates too large of a hole that, most often, cannot be repaired.

**Be patient, have fun & you will be hooked on this beautiful needle art in no time.